Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Lent insights from Ezekiel

Image result for Ezekiel name
The name Ezekiel means "God strengthens" or "The Lord is strong." It is this simple message that is the golden thread that runs through all the visions, imagery and proclamations of the 48 chapters of Ezekiel's book.

Each year I choose a book of the Bible to reflect on as part of my Lenten experience and this year I have felt drawn to Ezekiel. I don't fully know why as yet, but I intend to stick with him for the next 7 weeks and see what God has in store for me. If you are at a loose end for something to guide your prayers, thoughts and study, then I invite you to join me in thise process. You are most welcome.

In chapter one, Ezekiel shares the amazing vision God had given to him and it is from this vision that he unpacks his message for the Israelites living in Babylonian exile. What is most intriguing is that just when Ezekiel was preparing to become a priest (when you turned 30, you could become a priest - remember Jesus started his ministry when he was about 30?) he was taken captive and sent to a camp near the Kebar river, in Babylon (Ezekiel 1:1).

There is a message of hope hidden in this whole experience for Ezekiel. Although they had been taken away from their home - both their physical and spiritual homes - God was still very near to them. As we read in the 3rd verse, God's hand was upon him, even while they were in exile.

If you feel far away from 'home' today, may you remember that God is still there with you and may your hold onto the truth that 'God Strengthens' us when we need it most. When I am weak, God is still strong (to paraphrase Paul).

May your Lent journey be one of renewal, deep reflection, strength and hope.

"When I was thirty years of age, I was living with the exiles on the Kebar River. On the fifth day of the fourth month, the sky opened up and I saw visions of God. 2-3 (It was the fifth day of the month in the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin that God’s Word came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, on the banks of the Kebar River in the country of Babylon. God’s hand came upon him that day.) - Ezekiel 1:1-3 (Message)

Living in Grace

P.S. I am asked almost every year as to the meaning of Ash Wednesday, so if you would like to know more about why it's important for us to mark this occasion, please read this.

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